6 best practices for email marketing in 2020

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A classic channel that still works

Email has been with us forever in Internet terms, and yet, it remains one of the most powerful, efficient and cost-effective marketing tools for small business owners, side hustlers and other entrepreneurs. It’s equally good for engaging with existing customers and for drumming up new business.

Whether you’re a photographer looking for wedding work, a mobile DJ looking for your next gig, or a tax practitioner wanting to keep clients in the loop about new tax laws, you can get a lot of value from this evergreen communication channel.  

Here are some ways that you can use email marketing to drive better engagements with your clients this year:

  1. Optimise for mobile
  2. Automate, automate, automate
  3. Repurpose other content
  4. Deliver real value with each email
  5. Sharpen your calls to action
  6. Measure, optimise and measure again

Let’s take a closer look at how you can use email marketing to get your message out there:

1. Optimise for mobile

It’s 2020, and there is no longer any excuse for sending out marketing emails that look like a dog’s breakfast on a smartphone screen. Many, if not most, of your customers will be opening your email on a smartphone and you’ll lose them if they can’t see the important call to action with a single glance or easily navigate to the content that matters to them.

A good, modern email marketing solution will make it simple for you to create clean, professional emails that look great no matter what device — laptop, tablet, smartphone — or email service they are viewed on. GoDaddy’s Email Marketing, for example lets you use themes and templates to create attractive emails even if you are not a design guru.

2. Automate, automate, automate

These days you shouldn’t be spending your time on routine email list management tasks such as triggering emails to customers on their birthday confirming an order or sending emails to people who have signed up for your newsletter. Look for an email marketing solution that takes care of the mundane tasks for you so that you can focus your energies on things like getting your creative message right.

Pro tip: You can build customer trust and project professionalism with an email address that reflects your website domain and your company name. For example, if your bakery’s website address is buttercup.co.za, you will want to send your emails from an address like news@buttercup.co.za rather than buttercup@emailcompany.com. Every time you send an email, you’re giving your domain name to customers and prospects, encouraging them to visit your website.

3. Repurpose other content

As a small business owner, you don’t have endless time to write fresh content for every channel or the budget to pay freelancers to do so for you. But with some tweaks, you can repurpose content from other channels to use in your email marketing campaigns. For example, you could reuse content from a Facebook post where you spoke about your winter sale on ladies’ fashion.

Or you could quote favourable reviews from customers on Twitter in your email newsletter. Get creative with social integration – for example, include social media buttons and your hashtags in your email newsletter. Tying into the tip about automation – tools like GoDaddy Email Marketing lets you automatically turn blog posts into email newsletters, emailing them to any list you specify.

4. Deliver real value with each email 

Email marketing is a powerful tool when you use it in a responsible manner that puts customer needs first – blasting people with weekly product lists and specials doesn’t cut it any more.  Putting a human face to your marketing can make a difference. Use a chatty tone, take people behind the scenes and be authentic but professional.

As a starting point, do some basic segmentation of your customers, create mailing lists for them and try to send emails that are relevant to their needs.

Use your emails to tell a story and impart useful information, not just to sell – for example, if you sell kitchen utensils, you could discuss why you chose to stock a new hot air-fryer you’re selling. Talk about some questions in-store customers have had about the product, or share some recipes with photos. You want to engage customers and get them interested – and a sales pitch might not be enough.

A final point: Blasting out too many emails is a sure way to get people to unsubscribe. For most brands, one a week or every two weeks is more than enough. If you have some ground-breaking news to share that cannot wait for your regular email, send a special mail by all means. But this should be the exception rather than the rule.

Pro tip: If you don’t have an email list, GoDaddy Email Marketing makes it easy to add a sign-up form to your website or Facebook page to start collecting email addresses. You can also import your contacts from Outlook or Gmail straight into our email marketing software. Every email you send includes an unsubscribe link, which keeps you from landing on spam blacklists.

5. Sharpen your calls to action

The call to action is perhaps the most important part of your email. For a few precious moments, as a customer or prospect scans your email, you have the opportunity to convert their attention into an action you would like them to take. Your customer’s attention is a rare commodity these days, so you really don’t want to waste it.

The first step is to decide with each email what you would like customers to do after they read your newsletter. Would you like them to visit your website and read your new blog post? Subscribe to another newsletter you run? Follow you on social media? Ask for a quote or make a purchase? These goals will shape the calls to action you write.

The next step is to decide what the value proposition is for the customer – why they should take the action you want them to take. Will they learn something they don’t know if they read your blog post? Will they be privy to special deals for insiders if they sign up for your other newsletter? Will they get a discount if they buy now?

Once you have a goal and value proposition, look at shaping your subject line, intro, click-through links and other key elements of the copy to reflect your call to action.

And try to be a bit more creative than using bland, tired phrases like ‘sign up now’ or ‘read more’ or ‘buy today’. For example, you could try:

  • ‘Learn about our secret ingredient’ if you want someone to read about your bar’s new cocktail.
  • ‘Get cooking’ if you want someone to order a set of pots.
  • ‘Be on the inside track’ if you want some to sign up for your sporting newsletter.

6. Measure, optimise and measure again 

Your email marketing tool should give you statistics to show you how many people are opening, engaging with and sharing your email. You should be able to compare different emails side-by-side to quickly see which emails get the best response – with no guesswork. You can use these statistics to refine your email messages and ensure that you keep hitting the right notes for your customers.

What to look for in email campaign software

With today’s email marketing solutions, it’s easy to get started. Look for a product that lets you easily create clean, professional emails, has a track record for deliverability so your emails don’t end up in the spam folder, and gives you the stats you need to keep doing better. Once that’s in place, it’s all about creating engaging and exciting content that keeps your customers coming back for more.

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